(2001) Today would have been my mother's 90th birthday so in her honor I am going to tell you about the best thing I inherited from her.
We lived in Milford, Connecticut, for about a year and a half when I was 15 or so. My father was a Veterans Hospital director and we usually lived in government housing on the grounds of the hospitals where he worked. This time, however, the folks bought a house nearby. It was the first house that either of them had owned and it was a big deal. I remember them tortuously choosing paint colors and all of us working to apply the Puritan charcoal-with-white-trim to the cute split level suburban dream.
The house next door was sold to Wild People. The first thing the Wild People did was paint their house flamingo pink and it was all downhill from there. They were loud. They were uncivilized. They drank. They had parties...Wild People parties.
One night we were jolted awake at about 2 am by a stereo blasting "MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE COMING OF THE LORD..." We were on our feet and in the living room in minutes. I don't remember the rest of the night; the music probably stopped and I guess we all went back to bed. The memorable part was the morning when the breakfast discussion rolled around to our rude awakening. We clucked and shook our heads over the State of the Neighborhood and then Mother said, "But you know, that was the best recording of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" that I have ever heard."
And that's what I got from Mother. Thanks, Mama.